This is, without a doubt, my favorite restaurant and art gallery in Taipei.
When I walk into this restaurant, I feel like I am stepping into a world that perfectly captures my love of color and beauty. I asked the owners if they’d consider letting me move in after my first event there. I don’t think they realized I was serious, but they were gracious enough to let me try out their crushed velvet robin’s egg blue sofa and talk to them about where I could possibly set up camp. (Close to the hidden bathroom with the unicorn faucet, by the way.)
Yes, you read that correctly.
Alas, they are doing well with their customers, one-of-a-kind art exhibits, and art classes, which means I’m just going to have to keep going back for their terrific food, signature cocktails and incredible hospitality.
These people feel like home to me.
I met Leo and his wife Shahad through the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan. The temple foundation that they support was a sponsor for the CCCT’s 2nd Annual MacKay Charity Gala to help raise money for MacKay Memorial Hospital’s Children’s ward. Anyone supporting such a good cause gets an A+ in my books.
When I met them at the Gala, they told me about their new restaurant/art gallery and invited me and my husband to attend their grand opening in November.
Of course, we couldn’t say no.
Most people who know John and I know that we both have a great appreciation for art. We have been to many art exhibits in Taiwan and we have happily supported our friends any time they’ve had an exhibit. Case in point: Tom Rook’s art gallery exhibits at Hao Hous and Art Revolution Taipei in 2016.
Our invitation arrived by mail a few weeks after the Gala. At first, I wasn’t sure if I could attend. This year, it has become increasingly more difficult to go to events that require me to stand for long periods of time.
Before we got the invitation, my husband was insisting that I not go, but then this stunning invitation came in the mail and when you get a gold spoon and fork in the mail, you go, especially if you’re a Spoonie! (Feel free to ask in the comments section if you don’t know what a Spoonie is.)
When we attended the Grand Opening of VA VA VOOM in November 2016, John and I went with our friend Josh Yang from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan.
Upon arrival, there were a lot of guys hanging outside the restaurant and checking out the black Tesla Model X parked out front. At that time, it was the only Tesla Model X in town and the boys were going nuts over it.
I noticed the car doors flipped up and out, and John yelling something at me about Gull-wing doors, but I was heading straight for the front entrance of the restaurant which was filled with flowers and a beautiful backdrop, and of course, there were Shahad and Leo waiting to greet us.
Needless to say, John and I split up briefly that night. I’m not so interested in fast cars. They don’t trip my trigger the way they do with John, but when I walked into VA VA VOOM with Shahad, my trigger got tripped.
The smell of fresh roses hit me as soon as I walked in and I stepped into a woman’s wonderland of sights and smells. The restaurant has Swarovski crystal and mirrors everywhere and the first thing I headed to was the full wall of freshly cut roses. I just wanted to hug that wall.
Instead, I discreetly (or maybe not-so-discreetly) sunk my face into it and took a deep breath. As soon as I did that, I relaxed and settled into the rest of the night with ease.
The restaurant is gorgeous. It is covered in artwork and silk wallpaper that is painted with exotic birds. (I LOVE BIRDS! I have birds everywhere in my house. I have a hummingbird tattoo on my right shoulder and the hummingbird is my logo for my website My Several Worlds. My Several Worlds color scheme is based off the feathers of a peacock.)
The ornate furniture was made of crushed blue velvet and gilded gold and there were other pieces of furniture that were silver with glass and shag fur.
Even the champagne bottles were covered in Swarovski crystals!
The feature artist there had rhinestone decorated rhinos there. It was so incredible, I could hardly believe it. (Unfortunately, I can’t afford most of this stuff, but a girl can dream and point things out to her husband and hope, right?)
Yes, I bought half of what was on this shelf, and I took home some chocolate cake for good measure for the next day.
Once we had finished exploring the upstairs floor, we made our way down to the basement floor.
The downstairs of VA VA VOOM is a men’s den that looks like something straight out of Game of Thrones. The first floor is Shahad’s idea.
The basement floor is Leo’s domain and his vision for this floor is filled with deep colors, dark leather furniture with studded accents, trunks, some really interesting round metal seats, a full suit of armor and all sorts of interesting medieval-style artwork.
IT. IS. AWESOME.
Could this couple be any more creative or exciting with their restaurant/art gallery concept? It turns out that yes, they can! (I’ll get to that in a minute.)
What a conversation piece!
Of course, the first thing I was drawn to was the borealis metallic rhinoceros! To the ordinary eye, it is an utterly unique sculpture with the most magnificent colors (my favorite colors), but when you figure out how the back of it opens up into a ice-filled champagne bucket, I guarantee your mind will be blown like mine was.
And the artist was right there, so I had the honor of meeting Li-Jen Shih. What a gentleman and an entertainer. I could’ve stood and talked to him for ages. He was so kind and so fun to talk to.
Oh, how I wished that night that my Chinese was better. He was so patient talking to me, and he understood my questions, but the deeper nuances of his artwork are still a mystery to me. Luckily, his daughter was also there that night and she was able to translate when we got stuck.
Visit his page to see more of his work. Incredible!
Anyways, that night was great. I’ve been back several times since. John is still talking about the Tesla Model X.
QUICK FOOD UPDATE: After I posted this, I realized I didn’t even post about the food. I love the food here. Their appetizers are amazing. For special parties, they do these amazing little cheeseballs rolled in nuts. (You can easily fit two in your mouth at the same time as long as no one is looking.)
I LOVE their french fries. Crisp and very tasty with a little truffle on them. They also have a dish that is served in a Martini glass that is a really nice soft white cheese covered in bacon. Order two. It will be gone in a flash. All of their risotto dishes are great. The panini sandwiches are quite tasty. ALL of the cakes on display are awesome. (I mentioned above that I took one home the first night I went to VA VA VOOM. Now every time I go, I bring one home to try, so I can honestly say with a serious face that they are all super yummy.)
I haven’t had their selfie coffee yet, but I’m itching to try that. For their Signature cocktails, I cannot have enough of Honey.
Really, the food is lovely and as artfully presented as everything else is in VA VA VOOM.
We went to their Christmas Spell party in December 2016, where we were warmly greeted as something close to family. So close, in fact, that it took John about 10 minutes to get Baby Enzo into his arms.
Did you know that John loves babies, and babies LOVE him? Some people think my husband is a little stand-offish, but this is my real man, and I am so proud of him. (Scroll down to see him with Enzo. They seemed to like each other a lot.)
With Shahad and some of her friends, who are now my friends. Shahad and I are standing in the middle. She’s wearing the gorgeous blue-flowered frock and I’m in black lace. And hello, Baby Enzo. You little sweetie-pie!
Sorry, this is not the greatest photo of me. John literally took the fastest photo he could and then went back out to look at the cars and hang out with the boys.
I decided to channel my inner Harry Potter magic to cast a spell on 2017. So far, so good.
In any case, I do hope you’ll stop by VA VA VOOM to check out their art gallery and restaurant and to try some of their unique Signature cocktails. They are so gracious and so lovely; I am sure that you will enjoy every second of your experience there.
Keep an eye on VA VA VOOM’s Facebook page for upcoming events and art workshops. They host a number of art workshops that I would LOVE to go to. I think I need to brush up on my Chinese a little more before I attend though.
VA VA VOOM is a bar and Modern European Restaurant in Taipei located just outside Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall Station at 21, Lane 346, Guang Fu S. Rd., Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan